When I was a kid, the Toys R Us theme song was my motto. I refused to grow up. Unlike the stereotype, I was not a child that wished to grow up any faster than normal. Yeah, I sometimes thought it would be cool not to have to answer to parents but I didn’t necessarily want to be an adult either. If there was a way a 12 year old could rent an apartment, fill the refrigerator full of New York Seltzer and ice cream sandwiches, I would have been just fine. Besides being too young to get a job and no way to pay for my life style, I think it would have been rad.
I was the kid that had anxiety for the next school year. That meant I was growing and getting older. Although there was some anticipation for new Star War movies, new G.I. Joe figures and new episodes of He-Man, I enjoyed just living in the moment. Another year could mean change and not always for the good. I was traumatized when the cable company removed my favorite channel for afternoon cartoons. I refused to leave my room when I learned Knight Rider was cancelled.
My friends made fun of me because I still played with my G.I.Joe action figures in the 8th Grade. I continued to buy toys through High School. Kenner Batman figures, Micro Machines and the occasional G.I. Joe. By then, I “collected” them instead of “played” with them. This “collecting” would continue into adulthood. I can’t even fathom how much money was spent on toys in the 90s and early 2000s. I had a compulsion. I didn’t need them but I “had” to have them. My kids hated me because I had better toys than they did. I used my children to get the Wal-mart guy to take pity on us and go into the back and pull cases of new stuff. My wife became addicted to collecting too.
Then, one day, I realized I couldn’t buy it all. Heck, I was having trouble buying any of it. Toys had put me into debt. I had to make some hard decisions. The entire garage and spare bedroom was full of boxes of my collection. I decided I would sell some of it off. Over the years, I sold more and more. Eventually, I didn’t have much left. I actually got burnt out. The new stuff at the store just didn’t excite me. I got tired of buying something just to put it in a box and not enjoy it. This year will see nearly all of those toys sold off. I’ve decided to keep the Star Wars figures and G.I. Joe figures I had as a kid (the old 80s stuff). But everything else, gone. And you know what? It feels good.
I guess I have grown up. It just took me an additional 20 years….